Transferring Schools

by Staff Writers

Need a mulligan in college? It's America – you're an adult – so exercise your freedom of choice. Many students who regret their initial decision choose to transfer to schools that better fit their academic, social and cultural needs. It's the only way to ensure you won't spend four years in misery when you should be having the time of your life.

Now that you know what you don't like, it'll be easier to figure out which schools you'll enjoy the most. If you're currently stuck at a commuter school with no real on-campus life, look into ones that have lots of dorms, active campus organizations and nearby bars – the ingredients needed for the best college experience. If you're not the partying type, look into private colleges that appeal to your values. Once you have selected a few prospective schools, speak to students so you can get sense if you're compatible with the culture of the school. If you're seeking a better academic program, do more research than you did when you applied for your first school. Know the program rankings and whether or not students are landing jobs after graduation. Speak to professors and gain insight into their teaching methods and expectations of their students. You want them to be committed to you, and not just their research endeavors. Transfer to a smaller school – which is roughly 10,000 students or fewer – if you're seeking a more hands-on learning environment. This way, you won't be overwhelmed by the daily hustle and bustle that occurs at big state universities.

The process of applying for transfer admission is a little different from when you were first applying to college during high school. If you've accumulated fewer than 30 hours of coursework, most schools will require you to send your SAT or ACT scores, high school transcript and college transcript. If you have more than 30 hours, you'll only need to send your college transcript and your GPA will be the main determinant of whether or not you're admitted. The further along you are with your studies, the more difficult it'll be to transfer because the course requirements in a major vary by college. It's important to know how your current degree plan compares to the new program's degree plan and how your credits will transfer – it could impact your expected graduation date.